November 20th, 2008
03:32 PM ET
9 years ago

Daschle setting healthcare goals

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Daschle is looking forward to his job in the Obama administration."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle told CNN Thursday that he is excited about the possibility of heading Health and Human Services in an Obama administration where he would be a point person in helping to reform the nation’s healthcare system.

Daschle, a close advisor to President-elect Barack Obama, is expected to be nominated for this Cabinet-level position if he passes the vetting process. His top priority as HHS secretary would be healthcare, one of Obama’s signature policy issues during the campaign.

"I hope to have the plan enacted by next year, and then it will take several years to implement,” said Daschle, as he waited to board a plane in Washington, DC bound for Obama’s hometown of Chicago.

When asked if the U.S., in this current economic climate, could afford to reform the healthcare system, Daschle said it is imperative.

“We can't afford not to do it,” he said. “If we do nothing, we'll be paying twice as much on healthcare in 10 years as we do today."

Daschle served as Democratic leader in the Senate from 1995 until he lost reelection in 2004. Representing South Dakota, Daschle was first elected as a congressman in 1978 and served in the House until he was elected to the Senate in 1986.

Daschle recently authored a book on healthcare titled “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Tom Daschle
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Dookie: I'm tired of Americans criticizing the Canadian healtchare system based on second-hand accounts and no direct knowledge. I gotta tell you, it sure feels nice to be able to stroll down the street to a clinic and see a doctor whenever I please (usually within about 20 minutes) at no charge. Even in my (thankfully infrequent) experiences with hospital emergency rooms here in Canada I have had zero problems.

    Best of all, because of universal healthcare, I don't have to sit here and worry about whether or not I can afford to get something checked out. I can take a proactive approach to my health and visit a doctor whenever I feel the need, without having to worry about breaking the bank. And guess what, Canadians who whine about our healthcare system are whining because, well, Canadians whine about everything. You guys would be lucky to do half as good.

    November 20, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. Lisa, Saugus MA

    In case Tom Dashle didn't notice..the dow is down another 400+ points today. It will take lots of money to fix the economy. I just would like to ask where is the money going to come from to pay for the type of health care we were told about during the campaign.

    Answer: It's not! There isn't going to be any universal health coverage with the cost being what it is right now.

    Hopefully, the people who have jobs have a somewhat decent health plan cause that is all we're going to have for a long while.

    November 20, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Cori from Colorado

    Quality of healthcare doesn't have to be sacrificed, the point is that people are dying because they can't get BASIC healch coverage. Kids are dying everyday, adults die everyday, all because they can't afford health care. Even those of us who pay a lot of money for health insurance, don't get quality healthcare. You'll be surprised what your insurance doesn't cover until you need it for an emergency, and when you think you have paid for a certain coverage, your insurance company says it's not covered, then it's your problem. How is that quality of life, how is that safe? Our future is critical. We're talking universal care for people who need basic care for basic illnesses during the year, especially kids. Believe it or not, I know someone who almost died because of bad teeth! They couldn't afford health insurance, so the problem got worse and worse until almost death. How sad is that? C'mon people, where is your humanity? Quit with your selfish attitudes!

    November 20, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. Neal Cruz

    Well, I'm a die hard Democrat and I voted for change. I'm putting my faith in Barack Obama. Yes, we are seeing some faces we all know and love from the past. I think as long as President Obama, I'm so happy to say that, incorporates change with his new staff and staff from the Clinton Administration I think we'll be ok. Hell, after what President Bush has done to this Country I'm not complaining.

    November 20, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. roger

    I hope the healthcare plan works...for those who don't want some type of heathcare for Americans they are either very rich & don't need it or are people who don't care about the welfare of others...I am fortunate enough to have good health care benefits through my employer but there are many that do not & living in America who gives so much to others we should watch out for our own on this one regardless of the price tag....

    November 20, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. cat

    I am very hopeful that we can get a health care system in place that does not discriminate aganist the ill. For too long we have watched and prayed for our unforunate brethern, never knowing what the future holds for us also. The fact that a person can have a health care plan for years and never have to use it benefits and then losing it because you get sick or even being theaten by the insurance company when you become seriously ill is truly sinful...Every thing for profit. even at the risk of a persons life, it should not be this way. When I think of all the charity for the creation of medicines and researchers receive from the pockets of just regular people, for them to finally come up with a cure that just regular people can not afford, is like a slap in the face of humanity and all that is right. Finally we have choosen a leader who cares more about people that about capatalism. And my best wishes go with him because I know he is for the people.

    November 20, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. email4kh

    As more and more underwriters approve international travel for treatment, U.S. costs will come down. U.S. doctors want to eat, too.

    If you want a system in which everyone isn't required to maintain health insurance, it'll be necessary for rates to be determined by the health of the applicant at the time of application. The system won't work if you aren't required to buy insurance until you're sick.

    We already have universal health care. Anyone can walk into any ER, any time, and receive treatment for any complaint. Insured or not. The people who are insured or self-pay are covering the costs. In this way, we guaranteed healthcare to all, but it's being delivered in the most expensive way imaginable.

    November 20, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. Snake eyes


    November 20, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Paul DObro

    I truely think the CHANGE we are looking at from Obama is KNOWLEDABLE people in the right positions which ACCOUNTABLITY and GOALS and TIMETABLES.

    Something all business do but our government has failed at for many years.

    For all this folks wo doubt Obama, please realize he put together the STRONGEST campaign ever, defeated major heavyweights in both parties, and received the most votes EVER for a Dem.

    If he runs the country anything like his campaign, I know America will be better off.

    November 20, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. JIm


    I recently listened to a program on this. The big difference is we spend too much money on life extending treatments that are astronomical in price...just to extend these lives by mear months.
    In England, these treatments would not be covered by insurance unless they can prove it will actually be a cure rather than a simple extension of life.
    That cost alone adds billions to the cost of the American system right now, however it is a difference in the way life is looked at and treated. Doctors will do anything for an extension and the insurance companies pay for it. I agree with your system, but in the US the lawsuits would be much more costly, and that is our biggest problem right now.

    I hope we reform to a Healthcare system like Britain, however I think the value system may not support it. I do. I say..if there is no chance for a cure..then let them fend for themselves if their life expectency is < 1 year.

    November 20, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Independent Again

    TOM DASCHLE IS A LOBBYIST!! Look it up! You people are sheep!

    I thought the chosen one said those guys won't have a job in his admin?

    So much for "change".

    November 20, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. gary

    Once again, look and medicaid and medicare. Many doctors are refusing to see patients using those plans. I have good insurance and great doctors. I pay for it. I work hard for it. Why should I give up my quality health care. Should I give up my house because someone else can't afford their mortgage. Should I give up my car because other people have to use public transportation. Should I have to give up my job because other people don't have one. I should not have to sacrifice quality and choice because this country has an immigration and education problem. Medicare and Medicaid are failures. The governement is completely incompetent and you want them to run are helathcare program. Democrats are foolish for putting so much faith in failed systems.

    November 20, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. Griff

    There is no Health Care Goal: Not the Way Obama said!
    Free Health, he said... You need Hospitals by the Dozen. The Gates will be Flooded with Out-patient's.. I know!!!! He is a Socialist...
    Just you wait and see, if it is Really Free????

    November 20, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Paul DObro

    To Lisa – fixing health care will help fix the economy. Every business, large or small, is effected by healthcare. If we can reduce the cost, it helps ALL.

    Now that banking has taken a hit, only healthcare stocks have risen over the last 10 years. We can do BETTER then what we have now.

    November 20, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. LyonsPhilly

    Chill out Trinidad.

    November 20, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. T

    The election is over and the smart people won! It's our manifest destiny to continue to be the greatest nation on earth! I'm positive we'll think of the best system available. WE ARE THE UNITED STATES! There's a reason why we have more Nobles prizes than any other country on earth! Just shut up and get it done!

    November 20, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. Kevin

    We do NOT need socialized medicine in this country. Government isn't the solution to the problem...Government IS the problem. Wake up people, before its too late. The Bush years will be the "good ol' days" once Pelosi, Reed, obama, Schumer, and Daschle get their hands on running things. Hell in a handbasket.............

    November 20, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. Ann,

    Hey Dookie, who are you listening to about other's health care? My best friend is Canadian and their system is a lot better that you seem to believe. I think you better read up before you go spouting off that others' plans are worse than one that is non existent unless to satisfy the rewards of the HMO's profits lines only rather than the patient. I still want to know what makes Daschle the expert other than his writing a book, being connected to lobbyists, and his wife lobbyinfg for the industry and his being Obama's national co-chairman of his campaign and it being payback time? Why doesn't he fit into the same category that they put McCain in that he has been around the Senate for so long and nothing got done? Even his own constituents wouldn't re-elect him.

    November 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Ron Ft. Myers

    There will never be enough money for the government to pay for people's healthcare, any thinking person understands that, but why can't those of us that are paying a fortune for healthcare now, as individuals, not get on the same program as Obama now if we are willing to pay?

    November 20, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. Phil

    Let the socialization of our country truly begin! I hear Chavez cannot wait to meet Obama.

    November 20, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. John

    Regardless of your afiliations if we don't get the ridiculous costs of helth care under control we are doomed. Neither Gov't or Private can deal with that.

    Step 1 Reform the Tort system. No more huge frivolous malpractice suits.

    November 20, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. Laura, Boston

    I am sorry to say that I cannot see the US getting universal health care anytime soon.

    We have been struggling this whole week to decide whether or not to bail out the automakers. That is another 25 Billion dollars right there on top of the 700 Billion we already committed to bail out the financial industry (even though now we are not).

    We simply will not have the Billions and Billions of dollars it will take to even start a universal health program. Maybe in about 3 or 4 years it will be at the talking stage. But it is going to take at least 2 or 3 years to get back in a Bull Market. The Bears are taking over.

    Laura, Boston

    November 20, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. An American

    I cannot wait to see all you Obama lovers cry in your soup when you see what he is reall going to do to all of us. He is a socialist and we will all pay the price – big time. Tom Daschle is a lobbyist – full blown. I listen to how you keep praising Obama like he is some kind of God who has come to heal "the government" and set us all free. Its nuts and so are all of you. I want to keep my health care and I do not want to stand in line to be seen or have to wait for tests and operations with NHS – no thank you. And I do not want to pay for anyones mortgage, or car or anything. Pay for it yourself – I have paid my own way and so should you. Yuk to Jan. 20th

    November 20, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. JIm long as we cannot and will not control our borders...the system will fail.

    Taxpayers can only support so many people. When it gets to the point that more people are sitting in the cart then pulling it..then the cart stops moving forward and ceases to be.

    November 20, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Scott NYC Independent

    Did Bush pick experienced and skilled people to not only take over but to begin laying plans for improving the government. NOT

    November 20, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
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